The scenes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square were reminiscent of January last year. Then they demanded the downfall of a dictator. On Friday night thousands of protesters poured back into the same arena.
They carried coffins symbolising those killed during the uprising. This time they are furious at another Egyptian leader: “get out,” they chanted.
They claim President Mursi is following in the footsteps of Hosni Mubarak by granting himself widespread new powers.
“I came here because I voted for Mohammed Mursi but he has not done anything positive,” shouted one man.
Angry youths attacked security forces who fired tear gas. Other cities – Alexandria, Port Said and Suez – also saw violent protests.
Mursi’s move to put his decisions above legal challenge has caused international concern.
Washington recalled that the revolution was about ensuring that power would no longer be concentrated in one person’s hands. The EU called on Mursi to respect the “democratic process”.
The president himself – buoyed by his diplomatic success over Gaza – defended his new powers in front of Islamist supporters.
Egypt was on the road to democracy, he said. “Political stability, social stability and economic stability is what I want and what I’m working for.”